India-Bangladesh border trade, connectivity reviewed

AGARTALA:

Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das on Monday met Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb and discussed connectivity and trade-related issues between the north-eastern state and Bangladesh.

"We have discussed trade and connectivity-related issues and projects. Tripura has a significant role in increasing trade and improve connectivity between India and Bangladesh," the Indian envoy told reporters after the meeting with the Chief Minister.

She said the number of 'border haats' (markets) in Tripura would be doubled from two. In the border haats, vendors from India and Bangladesh are allowed to sell local produce without any kind of duty or tax.

To improve the livelihood of people on the border, India and Bangladesh (since 2011) have set up two haats in Tripura and Meghalaya.

"We also discussed ways to further improve people-to-people contacts. The ongoing connectivity projects will take some time," said Das, who took charge as High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh in March.

The Indian envoy arrived here on Monday on a two-day visit to the bordering north-eastern state. She also visited the under-construction Agartala-Akhaura (Bangladesh) 15-km railway project site and the integrated check post.

The state-run Indian Railways Construction Company (Ircon) is laying the 5-km track on the Indian side and the remaining 10-km rail would be laid by the Bangladesh railways. India will bear the entire cost of the rail project.

The Rs 963 crore ($145 million) project was finalised during a meeting between Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi in January 2010.

The Agartala-Akhaura rail link is likely to become operational within a year.